St. Helens finance director Matt Brown and the city government have agreed to a separation and release agreement whereby Brown will leave his position at an unannounced date in September.
The St. Helens City Council voted unanimously Wednesday, Sept. 21, to approve the agreement.
Part of the separation and release agreement states that Brown will receive four months of severance pay, equal to $50,049. He will also be paid all compensation due through the termination date.
Brown, for several weeks, has been the subject of an internal city investigation into his workplace conduct and performance. He has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
In an interview with the Spotlight in late August, Walsh would only say, "We're conducting an investigation on workplace conduct and performance."
Brown, according to Walsh, has been on paid administrative leave since mid-July, who said the City Council was notified of the situation at a council executive session several weeks ago.
Efforts to reach Walsh by the Spotlight for further comment have not been successful.
Brown was in the headlines in 2021 after results of an independent investigation into City Councilor Stephen Topaz were released to the public. The investigation revealed, in part, "significant, credible evidence" that Topaz bullied staff and attempted to engage in adverse behavior against a staff member based on her gender and his own personal prejudices.
At an April 20, 2021, open hearing at St. Helens City Hall, Brown accused Topaz of humiliating and harassing city employees. He also suggested he believes Topaz violated government ethics code and potentially even federal employment law.
The council ultimately censured and reprimanded Topaz, slapping strict restrictions on the city councilor's contact with staff.
Topaz is now running for mayor against incumbent Rick Scholl.
Results of the internal investigation into Brown have not been released.
According to the city government, Brown began working as St. Helens finance director on June 20, 2016.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.